heraldry of guadalupe
The arms were designed by Professor Brian Abel Ragen of Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, at the invitation of the Rev. Thomas Keller, an assistant to Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, founder of the Shrine of Our lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wisconsin and [then] Archbishop of St. Louis.
In designing the arms, Ragen said his goal was; "to create simple arms that tell part of the story of the Blessed Virgin's apparition in Mexico."
As that story is told, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared before Juan Diego, an indian convert, and instructed him to tell the Spanish bishop that she wanted a church built at the site of her apparition. After appealing to the Bishop, Mary appeared before Juan Diego again to give him proof of her appearance to take to the bishop. Despite the winter cold and snow on the ground, Our Lady made roses grow on a nearby hill; she told Juan Diego to gather the roses, wrap them in his tilma (cloak), and take them to the bishop. When the cloak was unwrapped, the Miraculous Image of Mary appeared on the tilma. To this day, Juan Diego's tilma is on display at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City with many replicas throughout the world.
"The arms essentially take Juan Diego's tilma and fill it with Our Lady's roses." - Brian Abel Ragen, Artist
The division of the field is also common in the arms associated with many Dominican institutions, where the sable and argent recall the Dominicans' white cassock and black cape.
THE AMERICAN HERALDRY SOCIETY AWARD
The Society's design award for Corporate Heraldry, named for the distinguished American heraldist, Pierre de Chaignon la Rose, was made to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, La Crosse, Wisconsin, in 2009. The Shrine arms are, "blazoned Tierced in chapé Vert and Argent a bunch of roses Gules leaved and slipped vert."
The American Heraldry Society was founded to study and promote the proper use of heraldry in America. The Society seeks to educate the American public about the art and practices related to personal and organizational heraldry. www.americanheraldry.org